Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
Print this page Print Bookmark and Share
Media Watch 2006

07 July 2006
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 7 July 2006.
TC architect charged with building on refugee land
A TURKISH Cypriot architect has been charged in connection with illegal building on Greek Cypriot owned land in the occupied north.

"A TURKISH Cypriot architect has been charged in connection with illegal building on Greek Cypriot owned land in the occupied north.

Osman Sarper, 51, appeared before Nicosia District Court and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and illegal use and possession of immovable property owned by another person.

The court denied the request for bail and a trial date was set for next week.

Around 500 Turkish Cypriots – including the suspect's family and fellow architects – demonstrated north of the Green Line yesterday in protest against Sarper's detention.

The rally took place in occupied Nicosia as UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari crossed over for a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

Potential

Talat said the arrest of Turkish Cypriots crossing south has the "potential to deteriorate relations" between the two sides.

"However, the Greek Cypriot leadership, acting on the contrary, is treating the property issue, a problem directly stemming from the Cyprus problem, as an individual responsibility," said a statement from Talat's 'office'.

The architect was arrested on June 27 after he was stopped at the Ayios Dhometios checkpoint when architectural plans and documents where found in his car.

He claimed they were designs for Turkish Cypriot owned property but police called in land registry experts who revealed the plots originally belonged to Greek Cypriots.

Sarper said he worked for a British and Turkish Cypriot owned company called Wellington Estates.

Employers

He had already designed three luxury homes built in the Vasilia district of Kyrenia with 17 more homes earmarked for construction, according to the plans seized by police.

Apparently, Wellington Estates acquired the land from the occupation regime. The Turkish Cypriot who also designs hotels said he received ?7,500 sterling for providing the drawings.

Sarper argues the drawings seized related only to Turkish Cypriot property and those ultimately responsible were the suspect's employers.

The prosecution believes there is ample evidence to suggest that Sarper understood that construction was being done on Greek Cypriot land."